Memorial stone for Carrick-born Victoria Cross recipient

James Crichton VC.
James Crichton VC.

A soldier whose bravery saw him awarded the Victoria Cross will be honoured in Carrickfergus this autumn.

A paving stone commemorating James Crichton VC will be unveiled in the town during a ceremony on September 28.

The plans were agreed by Mid and East Antrim Council in March of this year, with the war memorial at Marine Gardens the proposed location.

Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant for Co Antrim, Mrs Joan Christie, is expected to unveil the stone, with a short service of remembrance to follow.

The memorial stone scheme is part of a national programme aiming to mark the centenary of the Great War.

Some 628 Victoria Crosses were awarded during the global conflict, with eight recipients born in what is now Northern Ireland.

Created in 1856, the prestigious award recognises acts of extreme bravery carried out under direct enemy fire.

James Crichton was born in Carrickfergus in 1879, and his family moved to Scotland when he was a child.

He served with the British Army during the second Boar War before emigrating to Auckland, New Zealand.

At the outbreak of the Great War, he volunteered with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and served with the 2nd Battalion, Auckland Infantry Regiment.

He was awarded the Victoria Cross during the 'Hundred Days Offensive’, a series of Allied attacks in the final weeks of the war, on September 30 near Crevecoeur in France.

After the war, Mr Crichton returned to work as a cable splicer in New Zealand, where he died in 1961.

The Carrick-born soldier’s Victoria Cross is currently on display at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

A report presented to council members on Monday evening read: "Considering Pte Crichton's New Zealand links, we have contacted the New Zealand High Commissioner to inform him of our intent to lay the stone and to inquire about surviving relatives."